Police probe 219 extremists in wake of London Bridge terror attack

Police probe 219 extremists who could be banned from towns and cities in wake of London Bridge terror attack – as Usman Khan’s bomb plot friend makes parole bid to be FREED from jail

  • 219 terror extremists face having licences reviewed after London Bridge attack
  • They could be banned from towns and cities in crackdown following the killings 
  • Leader of terror plotters jailed with terrorist Usman Khan is making freedom bid 
  • Mohammed Chowdhury is up for parole despite having previously been recalled to prison for breaching his release conditions 

More than 200 terror suspects face being banned from towns and cities across Britain in the wake of the London Bridge attack, it has emerged.

Police, intelligence services and probation bosses are examining files on 219 extremists after knifeman Usman Khan murdered two after he was released from jail early.

It is believed 69 cases being looked at relate to convicted terrorists freed on bail licence before the end of the sentences.

Another group of 150 includes prisoners approaching release, and suspects who were arrested under terrorism laws but later convicted of lesser offences and are now free. 

The leader of the terror plotters jailed with Usman Khan (right) is making a bid for freedom. Ringleader Mohammed Chowdhury, 29, is up for parole despite having previously been recalled to prison for breaching his release conditions (left)

The extremists jailed in 2012 for a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange. Left to right: Mohibur Rahman, 35 Jailed for five years in 2012. Behind bars again, 20-year sentence. Gurukanth Desai, 37 Prepared for acts of terrorism. Jailed for 12 years in February 2012. Now free. Abdul Miah, 33 Prepared for acts of terrorism. Jailed for over 16 years in 2012. Now free. Usman khan, 28 London bridge attacker. Mohammad Chowdhury, 29 Key to 2012 plot. Jailed for 14 years, now back in prison. Mohammed Shahjahan, 34 Sentenced to 17 years ten months in 2013. Now free

Every terrorist prisoner on licence will be required to meet their probation team and all will have their restrictions reviewed. New limits on their movements and who they associate with could not be imposed, The Times reports.

It comes as it emerged the leader of the terror plotters jailed with Khan is making a bid for freedom. 

Ringleader Mohammed Chowdhury, 29, is up for parole despite having previously been recalled to prison for breaching his release conditions, the Daily Mirror reports.

He was described as the ‘lynchpin’ of a foiled al-Qaida inspired plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange in 2010. 

Usman Khan’s second victim was named as former Cambridge University student Saskia Jones (left and right), 23, who had recently applied to join the police

Her fellow Cambridge graduate Jack Merritt (pictured) was a coordinator at the event on Friday 

Khan, 28, who murdered Saska Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, at a conference for ex prisoners on Friday was jailed in 2012 with eight others, including Chowdhury, who got 13 years and eight months.  

Ringleader Chowdhury, of East London, was released automatically after half his term in 2017. It is not known why or when he was recalled.

A Parole Board spokesman told The Daily Mirror: ‘A Parole Board spokesman said: ‘We can confirm the parole review of Mohammed Chowdhury has referred to the Board and is following standard processes.’ 

Khan’s murderous rampage has prompted a review of the threat from other Jihadists.  Two released prisoners have been returned to jail.

They are Nazam Hussain, 34, a friend of Khan, who was arrested in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday. The Met Police also said that Yahya Rashid, 23, had been detained in north London for breaching conditions. 

Usman Khan addresses the public from a weekly rally held by Islamic extremists in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in February 2010 

London Bridge terrorist Khan pictured handing out extreme Islamic leaflets

The police move came two days after Khan, 28, murdered two people at a prisoner rehabilitation conference less than a year after being released from prison 

Yesterday a photo emerged of Khan with hate preacher Anjem Choudary at a Sharia Law conference in Stoke-on-Trent in 2009. 

Choudary, 52, was released last year after serving less than half a five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support for IS. 

Hundreds gathered yesterday for an emotional vigil in Cambridge for the two victims of Friday’s terror attack.

Mr Merritt’s girlfriend Leanne O’Brien cried and held a cuddly toy today as she was supported by family and friends at the event to remember her boyfriend and his colleague Miss Jones, who were both working at the prisoner rehabilitation event. 

The Cambridge vigil took place as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn stood side-by-side to pay their respects at a separate event at Guildhall Yard in London, observing a minute’s silence alongside members of the public.

MPs became further embroiled in an intensifying political row over which party was to blame for the early release of the attacker, who was allowed out halfway through a 16-year jail term for terrorism. He was wearing a tag when he carried out his rampage.

Mr Johnson has been criticised by Mr Merritt’s father for ‘politicising’ the attack and promising tougher sentencing rules to prevent the early release of terrorists. 

But the Prime Minister denied exploiting the terror attack for political purposes, saying: ‘Of course I feel as everybody does huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt’s family and all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, but be in no doubt I have campaigned against early release and short sentences for many years. It was in my manifesto in 2012… We have too many people released automatically on our streets.’

Why was Usman Khan free to kill?

When was Khan jailed and for how long?

Khan was given an open-ended jail term – known as an ‘imprisonment for public protection’, or IPP – in January 2012 at Woolwich Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of ‘engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism’. The sentencing judge Mr Justice Wilkie specified a minimum custodial term of eight years. But to secure his freedom, Khan would have to convince the Parole Board that he no longer posed a risk.

What happened then?

In an appeal in March 2013, Khan’s lawyers won their case – and he was given a term with a definitive end point. The need for Khan’s release to be approved by the Parole Board was also dropped. Appeal judges imposed an extended sentence of 21 years which comprised a custodial element of 16 years and a five-year ‘extension period’. The 16-year custodial element meant he was eligible for release at the halfway point – eight years.

Why is only half of a sentence served?

It has been a convention since the 1960s that half of a term is served in prisons. The rest of a sentence is served ‘on licence’, when an offender can be quickly sent back to jail if they fail to behave.

When was Khan finally freed?

The Parole Board was quick to point out after Friday’s attack that Khan’s release was not referred to them – he was automatically released at the halfway point. He remained on ‘extended licence’ and had to report to police and probation officers, wear a GPS electronic tag and fulfil other requirements.

How did laws passed by a former Labour government affect the Court of Appeal’s options?

PM Boris Johnson has said Khan had to be ‘automatically released half-way through’ because of changes Labour made in 2008 to Extended Sentences for Public Protection or EPPs. This is correct.

Until 2008, anyone on an EPP had to have their release approved by the Parole Board. If they were refused, the board could keep them in jail up to the end of their custodial period, which in Khan’s case was 16 years.

But in mid-2008, Labour made release automatic halfway through.However, the Court of Appeal could potentially have upheld the original IPP sentence.

How can ministers toughen up the sentencing of terrorists?

Khan’s atrocity has reignited debate over whether there is now a case to remove entitlement to early release for convicted terrorists.

PM Boris Johnson has already said they should be made to serve ‘every day’ of their terms. Some important steps have already been taken.

Extended Determinate Sentences (EDS), brought in in 2012, only allow convicted terrorists to apply for parole two-thirds through their sentence, with no automatic entitlement for release.

The Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act, which won Royal Assent in February, toughens jail terms for a range of offences and – crucially –makes it easier to keep terror suspects behind bars beyond the halfway point. It extended two types of sentence – the EDS and Sentences for Offenders of Particular Concern (SOPC) – to a number of middle-ranking terror offences.

A clearer structure could set out underlining principles such as whether early release is allowed, and whether the Parole Board or ministers should approve any release before it takes place rather than it taking place automatically.

A clearer structure would help underline how the justice system should deal with terrorists.

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